Kevin Garnett’s injury history has always been a little more complex than that of most other athletes, and this chapter is no different.

The Celtics center, clearly healthier as the result of rest, ran the floor and absorbed full contact for the first time in more than two weeks yesterday, testing an inflamed left ankle that forced him to miss the last eight games. Though his return is possible for tonight’s game against Washington, Garnett was typically cryptic about what has bothered him.

He has also suffered from a sore left adductor that forced him to miss one game in March. Though it was unclear whether Garnett was referring to this season’s injuries or something in the past, his woes appear to have been debilitating.

“If I’m able, strong enough and feel I’m able to contribute then yeah,” he said of his criteria for playing. “Other than that it’s all guts, all grit. I’ve always been able to put mind over matter with certain things, and then when I was unable to do common things like walk, get in my car and drive myself then that’s an issue.

“Obviously rest is always a good thing for me. I’ve been able to get multiple treatments a day on my leg and my foot, and I’m getting better,” said Garnett. “I have some issues from my foot, more from (pushing off), pushing the gas. It’s an issue. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be out. But I am getting better. I’m going to practice today. Doc (Rivers) and I will have some conversations about the future.”

Adding to the urgency now is Garnett’s need to regain form in time for the playoffs.

“I want to get a rhythm,” he said. “I want to be able to come in and contribute. I want to get as close to 100 percent as I can. I’ve never come into the postseason 100 percent, so this is nothing new. But I do want a rhythm, and in these last couple of games obviously we’re playing for something, and we’re trying to get things done.

“I don’t want to go into the postseason and have no rhythm, but I want to be healthy,” said Garnett. “That’s the first priority. . . . Everybody is dealing with their different ailments and I’m no different from that. As people get older things tend to linger a little longer. But I am getting stronger. I was able to heal up things that were nagging.”

Garnett clearly has much to benefit from the remaining six games on the schedule.

“It’s important to get him back on the floor, but if he’s not ready, he’s not ready,” said Rivers. “I don’t know what the number of games is, but everybody has their own thing rhythm-wise. I do know Kevin has been out awhile and the playoffs are soon, so the sooner he gets on the floor the better. Once he’s cleared health-wise, even if he can’t play a lot of minutes it’s better if he plays in games. Practice will never duplicate a game. He’s been compliant. Once he’s cleared he can play.”

And once Garnett plays, he may need several games to return to form. Rivers has seen it before.

“He’s a systematic player — he’s like (Patrick) Ewing in a lot of ways, back when I played with Patrick,” Rivers said of his former Knicks teammate. “If Patrick didn’t practice he was going to be awful in a game. A lot of the great ones are that way. Once they get out of their routine, it takes them a little bit to get back into it.”

Selective amnesia